Maria Montessori Academy

Distant Learning during Soft Closure- COVID-19

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Support Staff during Distant Learning COVID-19

Learning Objectives

Words from Coaches of NCMPS (National Center Montessori Public Sector)-

Letty Rising and Elizabeth Slade |

Excerpt from- This article may be distributed for educational purposes

Without warning, children across the country have experienced a dramatic shift in how they

participate in daily learning. In addition, children who relied on social service connections and

food service programs provided at school were suddenly without these essential resources.

Educators have put their heads together to experiment with practices that many have come to

identify as distance learning, becoming pioneers in this unfamiliar way of teaching and learning.

Montessori educators have had the added complexity of holding the method intact while also

creating a program manageable for children and families.

This was the primary focus at the outset of school closures as Coronavirus swept the nation.

Montessori educators and families made heroic efforts to create and institute a new way of

being for children that would hold them in a routine. Administrators rallied, teachers spent

countless hours preparing, families learned new technology skills and reorganized to

accomodate what teachers were suggesting. It was a valiant team effort to lift something so

unknown in such a short amount of time.

Plan- Do- Check- Action

  • Plan-Collaborate with team and develop the distant learning plans and instruction two weeks at a time.
  • Do- Build hard copy packets and online lessons for classrooms. Provide the times for scheduled lessons to parents and find alternative ways for students without online access.
  • Check-Check in with students during lessons and weekly check in with families
  • Action- Assess each week during virtual PLC's with teams and make adjustments necessary, continue the cycle of distant learning. Continue the new founded education of distant learning for Maria Montessori Academy

Observing informal data

  • Student Learning- Teachers contacted families to identify the best learning methods for their children during distant learning in regards to packets, online platform and how to be available for one on one, small group or large group learning.
  • Family Dynamics- Assessing and being mindful to each family and the different dynamics during this time.
  • Process- Continue to maintain the goal making sure that our students are safe, healthy and that learning is taking place (this will look different for each student, each family).



Ensuring everyone has a voice and a contribution to make:
  • Administration
  • Teachers
  • Staff
  • Students
  • Stakeholders

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." -African Proverb

Levels of Learning- ACTION PLANS

Continuous Communication

  • MMM (Maria Montessori Moments- Parent Newsletter) Leveled (EC, LE, UE, JH, Special Ed) letters with the plan and expectation for the families (every two weeks). The newsletter is offering continuous resources for families: family fun, websites, support groups, how to make materials and strategies for all learners.
  • Nuts and Bolts (Staff Newsletter)- Continuous updates, tools, resources and strategies to help support teachers and staff. Shout Outs from parents and community members.
  • PLCs - Levels are continuing to meet each week and provide notes to support staff so we can continue to support each level and each teacher.
  • Staff Meetings- Staff meetings are being held weekly via ZOOM to continue collaboration, check ins, community building and updates.
  • Stakeholders- Email and phone are available to address administration, support staff, office and teachers of concerns, questions and celebrations.

Check- Ins

Check-ins are instrumental in monitoring the progress for each student and family during this time as well as identifying the different needs for each student. Recognizing each students progress is going to look different.

The goal is to identify what is working and what is not during this time that we are all learning. Identifying what is impacting student learning and achievement and to make adjustments as necessary.

  • Using Protocols and Tools- Helps teams break into smaller groups to reflect and discuss the action steps that are occurring within this time period. Items shared include what progress has been made and artifacts, what is working, persons responsible, barriers to overcome, and next steps.
  • Instructional Coach Meetings- Meetings with coach on an individual basis of teacher needs and support.
  • Provide Feedback- Administration and/or leadership team provide feedback in regards to reflections from parents, students and staff. Always reflecting on the purpose and goal of what we are essentially trying to achieve.
  • Teachers are also doing their part of feedback via online platform, email or by phone.


Determining and identifying what needs to change during this time of uncertainty and constant change. This allows us to refocus our resources in the correct areas. This ensures that we are addressing the true nature of how to make positive change.

Reset the plan:

  • Planning- What resources are needed for implementation? What online platforms are out there? How do we shift Montessori hands on learning to distant learning at home? What short term progress targets need to be closely monitored to ensure we stay on track? How will we communicate our plan?
  • Implementation- How will we know that it is being implemented? What barriers have impeded your process? How will we address those barriers within our plan?
  • Monitoring- Who will monitor implementation? How is this communicated to Administration and Support Staff?


Instructional Coach- NEW Resources

ALLIANCE REDWOODS- This is the campus our 6th graders normally go to each spring for their MILESTONE field trip, out of state.

AEE- Association for Experiential Education



The parent guide to resilience on the why try website is free for families at this time.

Coronavirus: A Book for Children

Coronavirus: A Book for Children

- a free digital download

Why Are Some Kids Thriving Kids- observations to bring back for next year

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?

Montessori at Home- PPT

Montessori Materials and Resources


Additional Resources for Self-Care and Support


Click on the link above for continually updated resources and support for online learning due to school closings and staying informed amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Distance Learning in Times of Disaster"

- Letty Rising & Elizabeth Slade

Association Montessori Internationale

  • Free Digital Educational Resources
  • Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS)
  • - FREE version is now available to teachers: EFgo™
  • - Home-based guide for parents that includes 20 games and activities parents can use to help support executive function development. You can see a free sample activity here.
  • Educating All Learners Alliance
  • A resource library of curated tools, strategies, tips and best practices for supporting students with disabilities online with the goal of curating and creating special education services who learn differently.
  • National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector
  • School Closure Resources'

Distance Learning Resources

Home Connection

  • Weekly Check-In. As everyone gets in the groove, it’s important to know how things are going. Use this weekly check-in survey to stay connected to your students and their parents/guardians.

Social-Emotional Focus

  • SEL Discussion Guides (K-5). Use these printable guides to help set digital learning norms and keep communication flowing.

Literacy Corner

  • Writing Cubes. Students assemble these fun cubes to help them choose the main character, setting, and genre of their fictional stories.
  • Handwriting Practice Pages.
    Print - Short word practice.
    Beginning Cursive - Learn the strokes before letter formation.
    Primary Writing Paper - Free picture and writing paper.

Digital Fun

  • A-Z Scavenger Hunt (K-1). Have students search their homes for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. They can share a written list or take images to share with the class. Other options include focusing on a single letter sound or rhyming words.
  • Talk Show Host (2-3). Start each virtual class session with a guest student host! They can kick off the meeting sharing neat things around their home or asking questions of their classmates.
  • Book Commercial (4-5). Ask students to share what they are reading at home by recording a commercial that either convinces others to read it . . . or avoid it!

Quick Prompts

  • Let’s Make Art! (K-1). Think about your favorite animal. Think about where it lives. Paint or color its picture on a sheet of paper. Write a few sentences describing where it lives.
  • Read for Meaning! (1-2). Read a short story. On four note cards or pieces of paper, draw a picture of four events in the story. Write a sentence on the back telling the event. Label the cards 1, 2, 3, and 4 to sequence the events.
  • Let’s Write! (3-5). Write a song about a place you love to visit. First, list some words describing the place. List some rhyming words. Choose vivid nouns and adjectives for your song.
  • Words to Know! (3-5). Use a book, website, or magazines to find five unfamiliar words and write the words in a list. Use context clues to determine word meanings. Check definitions in the dictionary. Write a sentence for each word.

Writing strategies for all learners from age EC- JH from Ms. Nicoletta:

Creating Montessori Materials: (fraction circles/ bars) circles) (checkerboard) (bead frame) (snake game)

(stamp game numbers)

(stamp game)

(small bead)

(division board)


Family and Home FREE ACTIVITIES beyond Distance Learning

Digital Library:

Math Card Games- Building Fluency and Math Facts

Clark Planetarium:


Indoor Activities


Fluency and Fitness Activities

Free Educational websites

Growing Books


Educational Shows (Netflix)


Virtual Field Trips

Virtual Museum Tours

More Music

Ideas for Home


American Montessori Society

We are all experiencing a trauma right now, including our students. AMS' 3-part series, "Trauma & Stress" will illuminate different types of trauma that can be present and the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional effects. You will become familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) survey and their implications. Come away understanding common triggers of challenging student behavior experience and how they affect a student’s learning.


Video: Successfully building the Pink Tower for the first time


Remember to Breathe

Squirrels! FOLLOW the Child

Remember everyone needs to take a break. Some children work well with schedules, others need the day broken up. Some children like structure at a desk or table, while others want to sit on the floor or lay down.

Follow the best needs for your child and yourself to get the most positive outcome.

If a child needs a break- it does not mean its all over. Mind shift- turn it into life lessons: cooking, baking, walking the dog, dishes, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, folding laundry, painting, drawing, playing cards or a board game- responsibility embedded in the structure of the day while being productive.

Make it Fun